Unseeded, just 20, Ostapenko wins French Open for 1st title
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 19:35
On Sunday the Spaniard bids for a 10th crown at the French Open when he meets Stan Wawrinka, one of only two players other than the left-hander to have triumphed in Paris since Nadal burst onto the scene in 2005.
The 20-year-old Ostapenko, the first unseeded player to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Britain's Margaret Scriven in 1933, was 3-0 down in the second set when she overturned the situation.
When Halep won the first after hitting one victor and two unforced errors, it indeed told you most of what you needed to know.
As for the future, Ostapenko's big game will surely be a formidable force come the grass.
The 23 unforced errors caught up to the Latvian and Halep took the opening set.
Halep took the first set, putting Ostapenko in a hole that no woman at the French Open has dug out of in 16 years.
'This will be tough for sure but I think she'll regroup and she'll be a better player for it. The last time we saw that kind of fearless play was watching Roger Federer win five games in a row after being down in the fifth 3-1 at the Australian Open against Nadal. "This one hurts a lot maybe because I realize more what is happening".
Ostapenko began her final push, reaching 5-3, and scored the biggest win of her career a game later with an untouchable victor on match point.
As for Ostapenko, she is not content to simply bask in the glory of becoming the first Latvian to conquer one of tennis' flagship tournaments.
"She had the same energy when she was little, it was very hard", Jakovleva, who coaches her daughter, told a group of reporters at Roland Garros.
She had been the tournament favourite this time in the absence of Serena Williams, but again missed out on a first major title. A year ago in Paris, she lost in the first round.
However, in an extended fourth game, she couldn't convert any of three break points to go 4-0 up and Ostapenko won six of the next seven games to wrestle momentum.
The Romanian then had break points to make it 4-0 but Ostapenko held firm to massive cheers.
"The first year [of juniors] I did not really understand how to play on grass. I have no words", said Ostapenko in her presentation speech. But her natural ball-striking ability means she can always dictate play.
"I knew that Simona is a great player".
Jelena Ostapenko turned 20 on the Thursday that she reached her first Major final. Even in moments when she appeared dead to rights, like after the first set, she kept plugging along, eating back into the lead Halep built. She put the secret of her success as the errors mounted to letting go some of the anxiety she felt before the match. "So she's going to be exhausted, it will be a good chance for her to recharge the batteries, spend some time at home and hopefully the Romanian people will get behind her". She was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2014. And so I will work hard to climb the ranking and to maybe win some more titles.